Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Patrician
PATRICIAN, a Roman senator; a person of noble birth; a nobleman; a wealthy noble. Also one who is familiar with the writings of the early fathers of the Church; one versed in patristic learning. The Roman patricians consisted of about 300 gentes, houses, or clans, who, descending from the first Roman senators, constituted the aristocracy of the city and territory. At first the patricians monopolized all high offices in the state, but after political contests with the plebeians, lasting for centuries, Licinius (365 B. C.) carried his rogation, by which plebeians were admitted to the consulate and to the custody of the Sibylline books.